Godly Living in the Last Days

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By John Thiel

Scripture Reading: Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true [riches]? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 3:4 When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

We live today on borrowed time.  Jesus is about to appear.  It is our desire that we may appear with him in glory which is why we are here today.  As we are so imminently close to his coming it says set your affections to things above not on earth. This is the call for such a time as if not all the way along. Specific prophecy has identified of the time in which we live right now. This amazing prophetic picture that Sr White saw back then that today we see in hindsight;

I was shown the inhabitants of the earth in the utmost confusion. War, bloodshed, privation, want, famine, and pestilence were abroad in the land. As these things surrounded God’s people, they began to press together, and to cast aside their little difficulties. Self-dignity no longer controlled them; deep humility took its place. Suffering, perplexity, and privation caused reason to resume its throne, and the passionate and unreasonable man became sane, and acted with discretion and wisdom. {1T 268.1}

My attention was then called from the scene. There seemed to be a little time of peace. Once more the inhabitants of the earth were presented before me; and again everything was in the utmost confusion. Strife, war, and bloodshed, with famine and pestilence, raged everywhere. Other nations were engaged in this war and confusion. War caused famine. Want and bloodshed caused pestilence. And then men’s hearts failed them for fear, “and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” {1T 268.2}

Here is delineated the First and Second World War. Between the First and Second World War was a little time of peace. Only 20 years between the two wars. After the Second World War, men’s hearts were failing them for fear. Although the war was finished, the cold war continued between communism and the west and all the other dilemmas that overtook this planet, men’s hearts failing them for fear. Sr White quotes the words of Jesus;

Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

Jesus is speaking of these wars in Luke. Was that distress of nations?

Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

The Last Generation

How close is Jesus coming? Are we now to lift up our heads and understand that redemption is really drawing nigh?  Jesus then speaks about the fig tree and we all know well the prophecy of the fig tree.

Since the Second World War Israel has become a nation again and also many other nations.

Luke 21:29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

He is simply referring to the fact of what has been identified of what is in Sr White’s writings. This generation shall not pass till all be fulfilled. Here is the counsel now, take heed to yourselves;

Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.

As we meditate upon this application, apostle Paul’s words are a serious reality;

Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

To all truly committed Christians these things will cause us to realise I have to do something. I have to get myself in harmony with what is written. To live at this time a Godly useful life in the light of this imminent coming of Jesus, what should I do in the light of all this? It’s all going to be over in a very short time. Are you poised ready to hear the word of God? Are we awake? Are we really going to tune in not like the sleeping virgins? Listen carefully to the instruction.

One brother said to me, “Sister White, do you think the Lord will come in ten years?” [I replied] “What difference does it make to you whether He shall come in two, four, or ten years?” “Why,” said he, “I think I would do differently in some things than I now do if I knew the Lord was to come in ten years.” “What would you do?” said I. “Why,” said he, “I would sell my property and begin to search the Word of God and try to warn the people and get them to prepare for His coming, and I would plead with God that I might be ready to meet Him.” “Then,” said I, “if you knew that the Lord was not coming for twenty years would you live differently?” {2SAT 28.1}

Enoch

Said he, “I think I would.” “Then,” said I, “you know your Master’s will, and it is your duty to do just as though you knew that He was coming in twenty years.” I opened the Scriptures and read to him what we have read this morning, and he was convicted that he should change his course, and he did change his course of action. Well, now, how selfish was that expression that he would live a different life if he knew his Lord was to come in ten years. Why, Enoch walked with God 300 years, and this is a lesson for us, that we shall walk with God every day. We are not safe unless we are waiting and watching; we must have an eye single to God’s glory. {2SAT 28.2}

We are living at a time where some think Jesus is going to come in 20 years.  We are living at the imminence of Christs coming. There are no more years to consider anymore. It is a selfish idea to change my process of getting ready for Jesus to come if he was coming in 20 years. She referred to Enoch who walked with God 300 years and Enoch was translated as we will be. Did his life vary in relation to the date of his translation? 300 years he walked with God and God was pleased with him and God translated him. Would it make any difference to our lifestyle if we know that Jesus is coming imminently? Enoch was translated not because 5 years before his translation he changed his course. What was his course all the way through?

Enoch’s walk with God was not in a trance or a vision, but in all the duties of his daily life. He did not become a hermit, shutting himself entirely from the world; for he had a work to do for God in the world. In the family and in his intercourse with men, as a husband and father, a friend, a citizen, he was the steadfast, unwavering servant of the Lord. His heart was in harmony with God’s will; for “can two walk together, except they be agreed?” {RH, April 15, 1909 par. 1}

Enoch was an active worker. He did not seek ease and comfort. . {RH, April 15, 1909 par. 5}

Seek those things that are above, not on this earth. The world around us is seeking ease or comfort and using their money to make their life comfortable. Enoch didn’t do that for 300 years. Enoch had a work to do for God. He was an active worker. What does this include for the people that will be ready for translation?

It is the purpose of God to glorify Himself in His people before the world. He expects those who bear the name of Christ to represent Him in thought, word, and deed. Their thoughts are to be pure and their words noble and uplifting, drawing those around them nearer the Saviour. The religion of Christ is to be interwoven with all that they do and say. Their every business transaction is to be fragrant with the presence of God.–Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 21. {ChS 26.5}

Our Businesses and Homes

Let the business man do his business in a way that will glorify his Master because of his fidelity. Let him carry his religion into everything that is done, and reveal to men the Spirit of Christ. Let the mechanic be a diligent and faithful representative of Him who toiled in the lowly walks of life in the cities of Judea. Let every one who names the name of Christ so work that man by seeing his good works may be led to glorify his Creator and Redeemer. –Bible Echo, June 10, 1901. {ChS 27.1}

What was Enoch doing? He was representing Christ. We are called upon to represent Christ and do a work for God. He was an active worker. What does that include? Every business transaction. Whatever we do, we are to continue to do for the glory of God. If I want to be ready for Jesus to come tomorrow, what would I do today?

Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon [MONEY], who will commit to your trust the true [riches]? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

What must we do in our daily life with the use of our money? In our trade, how must we be? If I want to be ready for Jesus to come, I must be absolutely clear in my business behaviour, in my money use. I must be meticulous. If I’m not meticulous in these events, I will not be meticulous in heaven either. If you have not been faithful in another man’s business, property, who will give you that which is your own? Can you see the story of Enoch? Did he change his behaviour pattern when he got close to translation? Not at all.

All we have to do with is this one day. Today we must be faithful to our trust. Today we must love God with all the heart and our neighbor as ourselves. Today we must resist the temptations of the enemy, and through the grace of Christ gain the victory. Thus we shall watch and wait for Christ’s coming. Each day we should live as if we knew that this would be our last day on this earth. If we knew that Christ would come tomorrow, would we not crowd into today all the kind words, all the unselfish deeds, that we could? We should be patient and gentle, and intensely in earnest, doing all in our power to win souls to Christ. . . . {HP 355.5}

Every day we are simply doing what is my faithful duty. Just worry about today.

I urge you to turn your thoughts from worldly things and center them on the things of eternity. Christ has placed everlasting life within your reach, and He has promised to give you help in every time of need. . . . We should never rest satisfied with present attainments. If we put mind and heart into the work of reaching God’s ideal for us, if we go to Christ, the mighty helper, for aid, He will give us the very assistance that we need. He will bestow on us the very power that will enable us to be victorious in the struggle against evil. {HP 355.6}

This is our work.

Because they are not connected with some directly religious work, many feel that their lives are useless; that they are doing nothing for the advancement of God’s kingdom. But this is a mistake. If their work is that which someone must do, they should not accuse themselves of uselessness in the great household of God. The humblest duties are not to be ignored. Any honest work is a blessing, and faithfulness in it may prove a training for higher trusts. {COL 359.2

If you are a street sweeper or whatever you are doing right up to the coming of Christ as you work day by day, the humblest duties are not to be ignored. We continually come across people who think my work isn’t important, I want to find something more important to do. If you are not faithful in what you are doing now you won’t be in the bigger jobs.

However lowly, any work done for God with a full surrender of self is as acceptable to Him as the highest service. No offering is small that is given with true-heartedness and gladness of soul. {COL 359.3}

Wherever we may be, Christ bids us take up the duty that presents itself. If this is in the home, take hold willingly and earnestly to make home a pleasant place. If you are a mother, train your children for Christ. This is as verily a work for God as is that of the minister in the pulpit. If your duty is in the kitchen, seek to be a perfect cook. Prepare food that will be healthful, nourishing, and appetizing. And as you employ the best ingredients in preparing food remember that you are to give your mind the best thoughts. If it is your work to till the soil or to engage in any other trade or occupation, make a success of the present duty. Put your mind on what you are doing. In all your work represent Christ. Do as He would do in your place. {COL 359.4}

Do you ever do a job and think what a job and you don’t put your mind on it? Do you think I want to do something more uplifting than this?

However small your talent, God has a place for it. That one talent, wisely used, will accomplish its appointed work. By faithfulness in little duties, we are to work on the plan of addition, and God will work for us on the plan of multiplication. These littles will become the most precious influences in His work. {COL 360.1}

If you work for an employer and do it as unto Jesus, how do you think your employer will look up on it?

Let a living faith run like threads of gold through the performance of even the smallest duties. Then all the daily work will promote Christian growth. There will be a continual looking unto Jesus. Love for Him will give vital force to everything that is undertaken. Thus through the right use of our talents, we may link ourselves by a golden chain to the higher world. This is true sanctification; for sanctification consists in the cheerful performance of daily duties in perfect obedience to the will of God. {COL 360.2}

If we are going to be ready for Jesus to come, what sort of people will we be? We will be the most avid, the most particular and the most successful in everything we do.  Do I want to be ready when Jesus comes to be welcomed to the higher world? What did Jesus say? Be faithful to that which is least and that will be the chain that will link you to heaven.  At the time when men’s hearts are failing them for fear, what does Jesus say to this generation?

Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.

What is Jesus saying? You are so occupied with your own interests that you are not actually occupied with Jesus in your activities.

Luke 21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

To stand before the Son of man you need to watch and be conscious of everything you do. You will do it with Jesus. Be faithful in little things. Don’t pile so much onto your plate that you will become so busy that you won’t have time to consider Jesus.  Your mind can be so occupied with what you are doing, that you leave Jesus out. Jesus can be eased out of our conscious. Jesus says don’t be overcharged with surfeiting and the cares of this life. In the world today people are overcharged with more than what they need. Just prior to his coming, people will be overcharged. We can be caught by surprise.

When to Sell Our Houses

Is there a time that Jesus wants us to sell our homes, livelihood and our business? Follow carefully the guidelines. We should make Christ part of my trade and business life. If Jesus is coming tomorrow, should I get rid of it today? To be a diligent money maker with the business or trade which you are involved, is this in order? Is this right?

John Wesley once preached a powerful sermon on the use of money. He laid down three rules: “Make all you can; save all you can; give all you can.” To acquire and not save is improvidence. To hoard up money, adding land to land, and house to house, is covetousness and idolatry. To make and to save in order to give in support of the cause of God, is obeying the command of Christ,. {ST, 09/27/1883, par. 13}

When you have more than what you need, are you going to add land to land? It is right to make money. It is right to save money. It is right to use the money that you don’t need to pour it into the treasury of God. Notice that making money to enhance the kingdom of heaven is in order. To be capable money maker is Gods order. We don’t stop making money just because is coming tomorrow. We make money to enhance the kingdom of heaven.

If the love of Christ were burning in the hearts of His professed people, we would see the same spirit manifested today. Did they but realize how near is the end of all work for the salvation of souls, they would sacrifice their possessions as freely as did the members of the early church. They would work for the advancement of God’s cause as earnestly as worldly men labor to acquire riches. Tact and skill would be exercised, and earnest and unselfish labor put forth to acquire means, not to hoard, but to pour into the treasury of the Lord. {CS 40.3}

The worldly man is labouring to acquire riches. God’s people will work to advance Gods cause. Have you ever thought that is what God wants me to do if I have a business? Not to hoard but to pour into the treasury of the Lord. Christ for your sakes became poor.

The work must not stop for want of means. More means must be invested in it. Brethren in America, in the name of my Master I bid you wake up! You that are placing your talents of means in a napkin, and hiding them in the earth, who are building houses and adding land to land, God calls upon you, “Sell that ye have, and give alms.” There is a time coming when commandment keepers can neither buy nor sell. Make haste to dig out your buried talents. If God has entrusted you with money, show yourselves faithful to your trust; unwrap your napkin, and send your talents to the exchangers, that when Christ shall come, He may receive His own with interest. {CS 40.1}

Are we getting it very clear? There is nothing wrong with making money before Jesus comes. We are to use it for his glory. There is something wrong with hoarding and adding land to land and house to house. We are to use the money for the kingdom of heaven. If the homes that we live in and the businesses we have can be used to raise money for the cause, should we sell it? If my house and business is making money, I should use it to increase the wealth of Gods kingdom, finding souls with the money.

I saw that at present God does not call for the houses His people need to live in, unless expensive houses are exchanged for cheaper ones. But if those who have an abundance do not hear His voice, cut loose from the world, and dispose of a portion of their property and lands, and sacrifice for God, He will pass them by, and call for those who are willing to do anything for Jesus, even to sell their homes to meet the wants of the cause. God will have freewill offerings. Those who give must esteem it a privilege to do so. {1T 176.4}

Here is a balancing act that comes into focus. It is those who do not listen to the Lord to cut loose from their abundance.

Some give of their abundance, but yet they feel no lack. They do not particularly deny themselves of anything for the cause of Christ. 1 T 176

As we come closer and closer to the end, there is instruction;

Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs, and at that time their possessions cannot be disposed of to advance the cause of present truth. I was shown that it is the will of God that the saints should cut loose from every encumbrance before the time of trouble comes, and make a covenant with God through sacrifice. If they have their property on the altar and earnestly inquire of God for duty, He will teach them when to dispose of these things. Then they will be free in the time of trouble and have no clogs to weigh them down. {EW 56.3}

I saw that if any held on to their property and did not inquire of the Lord as to their duty, He would not make duty known, and they would be permitted to keep their property, and in the time of trouble it would come up before them like a mountain to crush them, and they would try to dispose of it, but would not be able. I heard some mourn like this: “The cause was languishing, God’s people were starving for the truth, and we made no effort to supply the lack; now our property is useless. Oh, that we had let it go, and laid up treasure in heaven!” {EW 57.1}

In the work of getting ready for Jesus to come, we need to enquire all along the way exactly where the Lord wants me to exercise myself.  As you come closer to the end, you’ll discover and recognise exactly when to dispose of your excess but you will still live in a home. Here is where by prayerful consideration, you can guard carefully when to dispose and not be found in difficult places.

I saw that a sacrifice did not increase, but it decreased and was consumed. I also saw that God had not required all of His people to dispose of their property at the same time; but if they desired to be taught, He would teach them, in a time of need, when to sell and how much to sell. Some have been required to dispose of their property in times past to sustain the Advent cause, while others have been permitted to keep theirs until a time of need. Then, as the cause needs it, their duty is to sell. {EW 57.1}

The object of selling is not to give to those who are able to labor and support themselves, but to spread the truth. {EW 57.2}

We are right on the verge but life must still go on. You still need to sustain yourself and your family. You still need a home to live in but the time is coming where we will need to know where to scale down and to sell entirely. There are many people who have moved into the country and then found themselves in dire straits. They get all excited that they have to move to the country. For the sake of the children it’s important.

The Time of Trouble

Many of the wicked were greatly enraged as they suffered the effects of the plagues. I saw the saints leaving the cities and villages, and associating together in companies, and living in the most solitary places. Angels provided them food and water, while the wicked were suffering from hunger and thirst. EW 282.

We think that we’re living in the end and we have to do that now. The above is speaking of the time of trouble – not now.  I knew some people who did that in New Zealand and they had to back track as they went ahead of the Lord. Here we have the counsel of the Lord.

Let everyone take time to consider carefully; and not be like the man in the parable who began to build, and was not able to finish. Not a move should be made but that movement and all that it portends are carefully considered–everything weighed. . . . To every man was given his work according to his several ability. Then let him not move hesitatingly, but firmly, and yet humbly trusting in God. {2SM 362.1}

There may be individuals who will make a rush to do something, and enter into some business they know nothing about. This God does not require. Think candidly, prayerfully, studying the Word with all carefulness and prayerfulness, with mind and heart awake to hear the voice of God. . . . To understand the will of God is a great thing. . . . {2SM 362.2}

Counsel in the Fear of God

I address words to the church at Battle Creek, to move in the counsels of God. There is need of your moving–many from Battle Creek–and there is also need of your having well-defined plans as to what you will do when you go out from Battle Creek. Do not go in a rush, without knowing what you are about. . . . O for generals, wise and considerate, well-balanced men, who will be safe advisers, who have some insight into human nature, who know how to direct and counsel in the fear of God. {2SM 362.3}

There were people who were encouraged to move out of Battle Creek. They were ready to do it in a rush. We often go all starry eyed and think the Lord is with us but he wasn’t. We are not to walk in imaginary Christianity. We are to be astute right to the end.

I have seen that danger attends every new phase of experience in the church, because some hear things with such a strong spirit. While some teachers may be strong and efficient in teaching in the lines of Bible doctrines, they will not all be men who have a knowledge of practical life and can advise perplexed minds with surety and safety. They do not discern the perplexing situation that must necessarily come to every family who shall make a change. Therefore, let all be careful what they say; if they know not the mind of God in some matters, let them never speak from a guess or suppose so. If they know nothing definite, let them say so, and let the individual rely wholly upon God. Let there be much praying done, and even with fasting, that not one shall move in darkness, but move in the light as God is in the light. . . . {2SM 362.4}

Let there be nothing done in a disorderly manner that there shall be a great loss or sacrifice made upon property because of ardent, impulsive speeches which stir up an enthusiasm which is not after the order of God, {2SM 363.1}

The time in which we live is once of imminence and extreme position but we must not over react. We must follow Gods counsel at the present time. We must move intelligently with a well-balanced procedure. Whether it’s making changes in diet, dress or moving to the country, whatever it is, move carefully with balance lest you move too fast and do much damage. We live in perilous times. We live in a challenging time and by God’s grace we must steer our vessels with much wisdom. t is my prayer that with all we are learning God will grant us wisdom to put into practise the understanding of the time in which we are living.

Amen.

Posted on August 6, 2009, in Divine Service Sermons, Tithe and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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